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Women's higher health risks in the obesogenic environment: a gender nutrition approach to metabolic dimorphism with predictive, preventive, and personalised medicine

Niva Shapira

Author Affiliations

Institute for Nutritional Research, Rabin Medical Center (Beilinson Hospital), Office: 5 Kehilat Zitomir, Tel Aviv 69405, Israel

EPMA Journal 2013, 4:1  doi:10.1186/1878-5085-4-1

Published: 12 January 2013


Women's evolution for nurturing and fat accumulation, which historically yielded health and longevity advantages against scarcity, may now be counteracted by increasing risks in the obesogenic environment, recently shown by narrowing gender health gap. Women's differential metabolism/disease risks, i.e. in fat accumulation/distribution, exemplified during puberty/adolescence, suggest gender dimorphism with obesity outcomes. Women's higher body fat percentage than men, even with equal body mass index, may be a better risk predictor. Differential metabolic responses to weight-reduction diets, with women's lower abdominal fat loss, better response to high-protein vs. high-carbohydrate diets, higher risks with sedentariness vs. exercise benefits, and tendency toward delayed manifestation of central obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers until menopause—but accelerated thereafter—suggest a need for differing metabolic and chronological perspectives for prevention/intervention. These perspectives, including women's differential responses to lifestyle changes, strongly support further research with a gender nutrition emphasis within predictive, preventive, and personalized medicine.

Women; Gender; Nutrition; Obesity; Metabolic syndrome; Life expectancy; Sexual dimorphism; n-6/n-3 PUFA; Predictive, preventive and personalised medicine (PPPM)